x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Changing the Way We Eat

This event occurred on
January 21, 2012
10:30am - 6:00pm EST
(UTC -5hrs)
New York, NY
United States

One day event focused on sustainable food and farming and how we're changing our food system to be healthier and more regional, sustainable. Three session themes are Issues, Impact and Innovation.

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The Times Center
New York, NY
United States
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

David Wallinga

APhysician, writer and full-time advocate, David Wallinga, M.D., represents the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) as a de facto doctor to the nation’s ailing food system. Through his work, Dr. Wallinga sheds a public spotlight on commonplace practices usually kept under wraps—the contamination of high fructose corn syrup with mercury, the routine feeding of antibiotics and arsenic to food animals to help them grow faster. His 2010 essay on farm policy and the obesity epidemic in Health Affairs helped launch unprecedented interest in the health of the 2012 Farm Bill; subsequently, dozens of the nation’s medical and public luminaries have signed onto IATP’s Charter for a Healthy Farm Bill. Dr. Wallinga has also served as the only physician on the steering committee of Keep Antibiotics Working: The Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse since 2000.

Patty Cantrell

Patty Cantrel is a community organizer and a journalist focused on making the business case for local and regional food. As Regional Food Solutions LLC, she works with nonprofit and educational clients to communicate new food and farm business options and public policy directions. She is a member of the Michigan Food Policy Council and a 2008-2009 Food and Society Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. She brings to her work 12 years of on-the-ground food system project management at the Michigan Land Use Institute. There she led development of a 10-county local food marketing campaign, farm-to-school network, farm business education program, and a regional food and farming coalition. She is a 1987 Fulbright Scholar with BA degrees in economics and political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She received an MBA from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, a city where she also cut her teeth as a business reporter and columnist at the daily Springfield News-Leader.

Marianne Cufone

Marianne Cufone is the Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition. She is an environmental attorney, and long time sustainable food advocate. Marianne is also a professional chef, trained by the Natural Gourmet Institute in health supportive culinary arts and theory. She has worked in natural resources management, focused on oceans, fisheries and seafood, for over a decade, in which time she has challenged and helped write and pass many significant state and federal policies and laws. She directed the fish and oceans program at Food and Watch (2007-2011), managed the Gulf, South Atlantic and Caribbean fisheries programs for the Center for Marine Conservation (1999-2003), and is the founder and managing partner of Environment Matters, a consulting group that provides legal, policy and communications support to non-profit organizations (2003-present). Previously, as an adjunct professor in law and environmental studies, and currently, as a guest lecturer at various academic institutions, Marianne helps to develop future advocates.

Laurie David (Host)

Environmental activist, producer and author Laurie David has worked over the past decade to bring the global warming issue into mainstream popular culture. Declared the Bono of climate change by Vanity Fair, Laurie was the architect of the 2005 “Stop Global Warming Virtual March” which attracted over 1 million marchers. She has written several bestselling books, including Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! and The Down to Earth Guide to Global Warming, co-authored with Cambria Gordon. As a successful television and film producer in her former life, she has used her creative talent to produce several documentaries on global warming, including the award winning “An Inconvenient Truth” about former Vice President Al Gore’s thirty years of research on global warming, and the HBO documentary “Too Hot Not to Handle”. Her most recent project is a new book “The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time,” an inspirational green guide to unplugging and connecting with your family over healthy, fresh food.

Mitchell Davis

Mitchell Davis is the vice president of the James Beard Foundation, a cookbook author, a food journalist, and a scholar with a Ph.D. in Food Studies from NYU’s Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health. His academic work focuses on restaurants, media and taste, particularly how restaurant reviews influence taste. At the Beard Foundation, Davis has spearheaded “Sustainability on the Table,” a national dialogue on sustainability and public health in the foodservice industry that culminates in an annual conference of thought leaders. In addition to his work at the Foundation, Davis frequently writes about and reviews restaurants. He holds a chair on the academy of the London-based World’s 50 Best Restaurants program. He has written four cookbooks, most recently, Kitchen Sense (Clarkson Potter), and he is a regular contributor to the Art of Eating and Gastronomica. His T.V. appearances include Food Network’s Food(ography), Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and Best in Smoke, on which he is a regular judge.

Wenonah Hauter

Wenonah Hauter is the Executive Director of Food & Water Watch. She has worked extensively on energy, food, water and environmental issues at the national, state and local level. Experienced in developing policy positions and legislative strategies, she is also a skilled and accomplished organizer, having lobbied and developed grassroots field strategy and action plans. From 1997 to 2005 she served as Director of Public Citizen‚ Energy and Environment Program, which focused on water, food, and energy policy. From 1996 to 1997, she was environmental policy director for Citizen Action, where she worked with the organization’s 30 state-based groups. From 1989 to 1995 she was at the Union of Concerned Scientists where as a senior organizer, she coordinated broad-based, grassroots sustainable energy campaigns in several states. She has an M.S. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland.

Paul Lightfoot

Paul Lightfoot is the Chief Executive Officer of BrightFarms, which designs, finances, builds and operates greenhouse farms at grocery retailers, eliminating time, distance and costs from their produce supply chain. With the elimination of shipping, and the drastic reduction of fuel consumption, carbon emissions and water use, BrightFarms enables grocery retailers to change their produce supply chain in a way that improves the planet and their profits. For nearly ten years, Paul was the CEO of an enterprise software company that improved the supply chains of major retailer and their suppliers. Previously, Paul was the founder and CEO of Foodline, a venture-backed software company that provided customer and reservations information technology to restaurants. Before that, Paul was a transactional attorney at the Wall Street law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Paul was recognized by Chain Store Age magazine as a “Rising Star in Retail” in their annual 40 Under 40 awards.

Gary Oppenheimer

Gary Oppenheimer, a CNN Hero, Master Gardener, Rutgers Environmental Steward, Huffington Post “Greatest Person of the Day” and 2011 Game Changer, winner of the 2011 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference and founder/executive director of the Campaign. In 1985, MCI asked Gary to help them roll out the then fledging MCI Mail e-mail service, and eventually became their largest global sales agent (including producing what is believe to be the first “ezine” – published from 1985 to 1996). In the early 2000’s, Gary became a Master Gardener and then a Rutgers Environmental Steward. He advocated for region wide watershed preservation laws, became an environmental commissioner as well as the director of a community garden. Frustrated by the wasted food from gardens nationwide, the “no food left behind” Campaign was created to enable America’s 40+ million home gardeners who grow food to easily find a local pantry eager for their excess bounty.

Wayne Pacelle

As President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Wayne Pacelle leads the nation’s largest animal protection organization with 11 million members and constituents. The organization is the 155th largest charity in the United States. During his tenure, Pacelle has nearly doubled the size of the organization and, through corporate combinations with groups such as The Fund for Animals and the Doris Day Animal League, built unity and greater efficiency within the animal protection cause. He has led successful efforts to pass hundreds of new state and federal laws to protect animals, expanded The HSUS’s animal care operations, and worked with dozens of corporations to enact operational changes that benefit animals. Pacelle was named one of NonProfit Times’ “Executives of the Year” in 2005 for his leadership in responding to the Hurricane Katrina crisis.

Urvashi Rangan

Urvashi Rangan leads and directs the Consumer Safety and Sustainability Group for Consumer Reports. She is responsible for managing risk analysis, policy assessments, label evaluations and consumer advice for tests, reports, and related advocacy work. Urvashi joined Consumers Union in 1999 and developed the ratings system, database, and Web site, for evaluating environmental and food labels. In 2005, she managed the launch of GreenerChoices,org, which covers green aspects over a wide range of products and services. Urvashi serves as a primary, national spokesperson for Consumer Reports in the areas of sustainable production/consumption practices, food safety, and product safety issues related to chemical and contaminant hazards.

Cara Rosaen

Cara Rosaen is the Co-Founder of the crowd-sourced nationwide food guide, Cara brought her expertise in health behavior change and experience starting two companies of her own to team up with husband Karl, former Google engineer, to co-found Real Time Farms. With the help of a crowd-sourcing model, a stellar core team, and an army of “Food Warriors”, Real Time Farms is quickly and richly documenting our food system, so we can easily know where our food comes from and feel good about the food we eat.

Stephen Ritz

Stephen Ritz is a South Bronx teacher/administrator. With the help of extended student and community family they have grown over 25,000 pounds of vegetables in the Bronx while generating extraordinary academic performance. His Bronx classroom features the first indoor edible wall in NYC DOE which routinely generates enough produce to feed 450 students healthy meals and trains the youngest nationally certified workforce in America. Stephen has consistently moved attendance from 40% to 93% daily, helped fund/create 2,200 youth jobs, captured the US EPA Award for transforming mindsets and landscapes in NYC, recently won the ABC Above and Beyond Award, helped earn his school the first ever Citywide Award of Excellence from the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health and attributes these results directly to growing vegetables in school. His speech at Columbia University, "From Crack to Cucumbers," along with the release of a You-Tube Video (Urban Farming NYC) resulted in a national following including an invite to the White House Garden. Dedicated to harvesting hope and cultivating minds, Stephen dreams of opening a nationally replicable Career Technical Education public school in the poorest Congressional District in America rooted in urban agriculture, green and sustainable initiatives. For more information, see Stephen Ritz.

Robert S. Lawrence

Robert S. Lawrence, MD is the Center for a Livable Future Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health with joint appointments as Professor of Health Policy, International Health, and Medicine. He is the founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which supports research and develops policies related to the public health impacts of industrial food animal production, improving food security, and adopting healthier diets. Dr. Lawrence graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Medical School and trained in internal medicine at the MGH. He has been a faculty member of the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina and Harvard. From 1980 to 1991 he served as chief of medicine at the Cambridge Hospital. From 1991 to 1995 he directed the Health Sciences Division at the Rockefeller Foundation. He is the founding director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), serves on the Board of Directors of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and is a member of the Global Health Advisory Committee of the Open Society Institute.

Kerry McLean

Kerry A. McLean is the Director of Community Development at WHEDco, a 20-year old nonprofit working to create a more beautiful, equitable and economically vibrant Bronx. Kerry directs WHEDco’s community planning and revitalization initiatives, including the Green Cart Microenterprise Program, which helps community members become street vendor entrepreneurs selling fresh fruits and vegetables in their own communities. Through the Corbin Hill Road Farm Share program, Kerry connects South Bronx residents to fresh produce from farms in upstate New York. She also works to bridge the food gap by attracting restaurants and grocery stores to vacant storefronts, and engages area youth and adults around neighborhood food surveying and advocacy. Kerry enjoys connecting community members to rooftop urban farm activities at WHEDco’s Intervale Green, the nation's largest Energy Star certified, multi-family affordable housing development. Kerry’s newest community planning initiative is WHEDco’s Bronx Music Heritage Center development, which will feature a hydroponic rooftop farm and open space for recreation. Kerry is a 2011 Fellow of Coro’s inaugural Neighborhood Leadership Program and has Master’s degrees in International Development and in Urban Planning.

Michelle Hughes

Michelle Hughes is the Director of GrowNYC’s New Farmer Development Project (NFDP), which identifies and trains immigrants with agricultural experience to establish their own family farms. Since 2000, the project has supported the establishment of 22 immigrant-owned farms by offering production and business training, land identification, marketing support and a microcredit loan fund. NFDP farmers keep 325 acres of farmland in production and bring local products to 60 farmers markets and 18 CSAs throughout New York City. During her 7 years with the NFDP, Michelle has brought her Spanish interpretation, translation and cross cultural skills to the project to help people recognize the breadth of skills and knowledge that they already possess that can be leveraged to create successful farm businesses. She has a BS in natural resource management and agroecology and is a board member of the National Young Farmer Coalition.

Kavita Shukla

Kavita M. Shukla is the Inventor and Founder/CEO of Fenugreen (, a pioneer in the movement towards sustainable, active, natural food packaging. Fenugreen is addressing the massive, yet often overlooked global challenge of food spoilage (25% of the world's harvest is lost to spoilage each year) with its simple and all-natural FreshPaper innovation. By keeping food fresher from "farm to fork" in a sustainable way, while reducing transportation, inventory and energy costs, Fenugreen’s FreshPaper holds the potential to revolutionize the food economy. Kavita holds two patents, with four pending and has received several international honors for her potential as an inventor-entrepreneur, including recognition from the Lemelson-MIT Foundation, the Cartier Women’s Initiative, the Davidson Institute, the Swiss Consulate, and the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She has also been inducted into the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors. In 2011, Fenugreen was recognized as one of the most innovative young companies in the world as Grand Prize winner of the Kauffman Foundation’s Startup Open competition. Kavita holds a BA from Harvard University.

Fred Kirschenmann

Fred Kirschenmann has been involved in sustainable agriculture and food issues for most of his life. He currently serves as both a Distinguished Fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University, and as President of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York. He also still provides management over site of his family’s 2,600 acre organic farm in south central North Dakota. He was recently named as one of the first ten James Beard Foundation Leadership Awards which recognizes visionaries in creating more healthful, more sustainable, and safer food systems. He is the author of a book of essays which track the development of his thought over the past 30 years; Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays by a Farmer Philosopher, published by the University of Kentucky Press.

Stefani Bardin

Stefani Bardin is producing a body of work that explores the influence of corporate culture and industrial food production on our food system. These investigations take the form of single and multi-channel videos and immersive and interactive installations. Her current project is working with gastroenterologist Dr. Braden Kuo at Harvard University where they just completed the first ever clinical study to use the M2A™ and SmartPill devices to look at how the human body responds to processed versus whole foods. She is an Honorary Resident at Eyebeam Art +Technology Center in New York and teaches in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design and in the Food Studies Program at The New School for Public Engagement.

Howard Hinterthuer

Following a long and amazing career in Public Relations and Marketing Consulting, Howard Hinterthuer tried to retire in his 50’s but failed. Since then, Howard has embraced his youthful dreams of growing organic fruits and vegetables, creating music compulsively, writing whatever he wants, and caring for loved ones. He serves on the board of Wellspring, a thirty-year-old CSA located in Newburg, Wisconsin and is Executive Director Emeritus of the Sweet Water Foundation. “I helped launch Sweet Water Organics, a world leader in aquaponics, and the owners asked me to assist them in the creation of a foundation to teach others about aquaponics, vermiculture, and urban agriculture among other things.” Howard currently is Communications Coordinator, Center for Veterans Issues, Wisconsin’s largest community-based veteran’s service organization. He is also a peer-to-peer mentor in CVI’s Organic Therapy Program. Howard is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (BA-General), and a Vietnam Veteran (’69 & ’70) where he served as a medic with the 101st Airborne Division.

Organizing team


New York, NY, United States
  • Sabine Hrechdakian
    Outreach Director/Organizing Committee
  • Mary Cleaver
    Sustainable Food Curator
  • Sybil Desseau
    Organizing Committee
  • Kathy Reilly
    Organizing Committee
  • Brendan Van Meter